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Wrist Fractures

February 27, 2022

examining a wrist fracture

The wrist is made up of many small bones that work together to provide support and allow fluid movement. If even one of the bones within the wrist is fractured, it can greatly compromise a person's ability to perform daily functions.

Wrist fractures limit movement and can cause severe pain. It is essential that people seek treatment right away if they suspect they have suffered a wrist fracture. At Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, our doctors offer surgical and non-surgical treatments for wrist fractures, to relieve our Austin, TX, patients of pain and to restore full range of motion.

Causes of Wrist Fractures

Because the bones within the wrist are small, they are somewhat delicate. If someone lands heavily on their hands and wrists, or if the wrist is subjected to a significant amount of force, one or more of the wrist bones can easily be fractured. Some of the most common causes of wrist fractures include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Sports accidents and injuries
  • Car accidents

Symptoms of a Wrist Fracture

After an accident or fall, someone may not initially realize that their wrist has been fractured. Unfortunately, the longer that a wrist fracture goes untreated, the more likely that it can lead to complications, such as permanent stiffness or deformity. It is important that our Austin patients look out for potential symptoms of a wrist fracture, and seek treatment right away if any of the following develop:

  • Wrist tenderness or pain (especially when gripping or squeezing)
  • Stiffness or immobility
  • Inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers or hands
  • Visible deformity, i.e., a bent wrist

Non-surgical Treatment Options

Many wrist fractures can be treated non-surgically. Non-surgical treatments for wrist fractures focus on resting the wrist so that bones have time to heal, providing relief from pain, and restoring full mobility. Key elements of a successful non-surgical treatment for a wrist fracture is likely to include:

  • Immobilization - Restricting movement is essential to allowing a fractured wrist to heal. Depending on the severity of the fracture, immobilization may be achieved through the use of a splint, sling, brace, or cast.
  • Medication - The pain and inflammation of a wrist fracture can usually be controlled through the use of over-the-counter pain medication. Our doctors can recommend a medication that alleviates pain and dissipates inflammation without interfering with the healing process.
  • Physical therapy - After an immobilization device is removed, physical therapy is often necessary to strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the wrist, and restore a full range of motion.

Surgery for Wrist Fractures

While wrist fractures can usually be treated without surgery, sometimes surgical intervention is necessary to repair damage and stabilize the bones through the use of screws, pins, or plates. Surgery may be necessary if the bones have moved out of alignment, the fracture extends into a nearby joint, there are loose bone fragments within the wrist, the nerves or ligaments have been damaged, or the fracture has pierced through the skin.

Contact Our Austin Office

If you suspect that you have suffered a wrist fracture, it is important to seek care right away to avoid long-term damage or complications. To learn more about the wrist fracture treatments offered at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin, send us a message online, or call (512) 476-2830.